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~ cool layered dessert

Puddings, custards or a panna cotta. They are all  very similar in texture it is the construction that differs. Custards are thickened with egg, puddings most often with corn starch and panna cotta with gelatin. This recipe is a German Italian fusion. Using Giada deLaurentis’ panna cotta recipe as a base, we are going to Deutsch it up a bit with a key substitute. Waldmeister Götterspeise.

One thing to note here, no where does this recipe say that the dessert will separate into two layers. When I unpotted these I was quite surprised by the result. I also had used only 3 cups of half and half. That may have contributed to the issue. I added an extra cup to this recipe because a packet is more than the one tablespoon that Giada’s recipe calls for. And with the extra cup you will have a fluffier dessert than the dense creamy bottom I got.


  • 1 Cup whole milk
  • 1 packet of waldmeister flavored gelatin
  • 4 cups half and half
  • 1/3 Cup honey or 1/4 cup of agave nectar
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • pinch of salt

Add whole milk to a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin pack over it. Let sit for 3-5 minutes to let the gelatin soften.

Next pout this mixture into a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the gelatin dissolves but the milk does not boil. Then pour in the half and half, sweeteners and salt. Cook while stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 5-7 minutes.

Remove from heat

Pour into chosen moulds.

A note about moulds. You can use anyting. This kind of pudding done German style can be very rustic, use simple items like coffee cups or 2-3 ounce dessert bowls which will give you a well rounder dome. Restaurant dishes like the square server I used are trendy. For specially themed parties you can use a mini bundt or kugelhopf pan,  mini jell-o moulds for individual servings. Or you could use a large old fashioned mould for a larger dessert display.

A thinner panna cotta will start to melt the moment it is served. For the thicker one like mine use only 3 cups of half and half to the one packet of gelatin. This will hold up well to sitting out for a time.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours to allow this to set properly. If you are using individual moulds lining them up on a baking tray before filling will make transport and storage much much easier.

To turn out the panna cotta, run a knife dipped in hot water around the edges. Set into a shallow bowl of hot water to loosen. Lay the serving plate upside down over the top of mould, flip over. It should release with a slurp or a pop.

Garnish as desired. I used an actual sprig of waldmeister.